Senators note FERC’s Inability to Hear Local Concerns on Project Due to Lack of Quorum, Irreparable Harm to Otis State Forest
Washington, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), calling on the agency to revoke its authorization for Kinder Morgan to begin construction on its Connecticut Expansion Project in Western Massachusetts until FERC is able to consider pending challenges to the project. The Senators also note that FERC is allowing construction to begin even when it cannot currently consider pending requests for rehearing on this project because it lacks sufficient commissioners to constitute a quorum.
“Nearly a year has lapsed since FERC granted the rehearing request, and no action has been taken to hear the concerns of the citizens of Sandisfield, effectively silencing them before the Commission and before the Courts,” write the Senators. “For FERC to allow last week’s issuance of a notice to proceed with construction when it lacks a quorum and, therefore, cannot act on the rehearing request, is profoundly troubling.”
The Senators write that, “If Tennessee Gas is allowed to proceed with tree clearing and construction there will be irreparable harm done to Otis State Forest, a natural treasure of Massachusetts.”
The Senators also note a letter from FERC to Senators in which the agency writes “with the departure of former Chairman Norman Bay, the Commission was left without a quorum, and is thus unable to act on requests for rehearing.” The Senators argue that “[if] FERC cannot act on requests for rehearing because it is without a quorum, it should not allow FERC staff to authorize projects that are the subject of rehearing requests to go forward.”
Text of the letter is available here [PDF]